How coronavirus will affect cannabis industry

25-03-2020    15:17   |    Forbes

In an astonishingly brief time-span, the coronavirus pandemic has convulsed the lives of people both in the U.S. and globally, sending the markets reeling in a free-fall, ushering in a possible recession. It’s a unprecedented public health crisis of a magnitude that is both disruptive and frightening. Like many establishments that have either been ordered to close to flatten the spread of the virus or can only operate in take-out and/or delivery mode, cannabis businesses, too, are feeling the severe pain points of this contagion. While some business leaders and experts are adopting an understandably realistic and bleak view of the pandemic’s harmful repercussions on the industry, others are choosing a more guarded and yes, optimistic outlook.

Following is a sampling of thoughts from top-tier cannabis professionals on how this pandemic could shape their industry:

“The outlook is somewhat unknown, not just for the cannabis space but for businesses of all kinds,” said Sammy Dorf, co-founder, president and CEO of Chicago-based cannabis company Verano. “Our primary concern right now is human health and wellness, for our employees, our patients and customers, our neighbors and beyond. While we haven’t prepared specifically for this scenario, our strict standard operating procedures enable us to nimbly adapt and continue serving those that have come to rely on us for quality cannabis products. Seeing cities, even countries, locking down makes it troubling to just evaluate the impact on any one industry.”

Shanel Lindsay, founder and president of Boston-based Ardent Cannabis, noted how city lock-downs are hurting retail foot traffic, including dispensaries. But Lindsay sees the proverbial silver lining in these dire circumstances: “The demand for cannabis and education remains, though there will be a shift in how people are able to access both. E-commerce is going to become increasingly important, and we have seen that bear out in China.”

Michael Sassano, founder and CEO of Solaris Farms, a Las Vegas-based greenhouse for growing cannabis, is filtering the turmoil through a balanced lens, favoring the industry.  ”The medical and pharmaceutical industries will get a boost as governments around the world pour money into their archaic structures,” he said. “As a result, the cannabis industry will be a trickle-down beneficiary as regulations will be loosened and research money flows into all corners of medicine. Cannabis won’t stop a virus, but the ancillary benefits to the nervous system, cancer, and general well-being will not be able to be ignored anymore.”

And, lastly, Evan Nison, founder and owner of cannabis-focused Nisonco, a PR firm for the cannabis industry, expresses a view that doubtless many hope for: “Once we get through, and if we all are flexible with each other to prevent a broader recession, I believe it will get back to normal relatively quickly after the virus.”

Source: Forbes
Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash


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